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Small altarpiece with th...
Room 10



Gothic

Jaume Huguet

Small altarpiece with the Virgin and Saints

Barcelona
1460 - 1470
Tempera on wood
94 x 69 cm
From Vic (Osona)
MEV 1297

According to the documentary sources it seems that the young Jaume Huguet started out as a painter by the side of his uncle Pere Huguet who worked professionally in the Tarragona workshop of Mateu Ortoneda. In 1448 he set up his home in Barcelona, where he came into contact with the realistic 'ars nova' of Flemish influence, especially of the pictorial school of Jan van Eyck, made fashionable a few years earlier by the painter Lluís Dalmau with the altarpiece of the Virgin of the Councillors in the chapel of the Casa de la Ciutat in Barcelona, now in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. The small altarpiece of the Virgin entered the Museu Episcopal de Vic at the end of the 19th century, from a private house in Vic. In the central panel there is the Virgin seated on a throne with the child Jesus, with an expression highly reminiscent of the Virgin from the small altarpiece of the Epiphany, especially the hairstyle and the childlike expression on the face of the Virgin, so typical of Huguet. She is flanked by the figure of the Archangel Saint Michael defeating Lucifer and the Guardian Angel holding the disciplines in its right hand and the crown in the left. In the top central panel there is the figure of Christ nailed to the cross, alone, amid a deserted landscape, transmitting a feeling of death and desolation. In the panels at the sides we see Saint John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene. The predella is centred upon the depiction of the Christ of Pity in the sepulchre held by an angel with the symbols of the passion behind him. At the sides there are Saint Peter with the keys and the open book and possibly Saint Jerome or Saint Bonaventura with the cardinal's hat and the church. This small altarpiece allows us to appreciate in detail the hatching technique characteristic of Jaume Huguet, which consisted in the application first of a plain ink base over which he made small parallel brushstrokes of different colours that, according to Ainaud, he could have learnt by studying the work of Bernat Martorell. Nevertheless this is a work in which one can discern the less skilful hand of a collaborator from his workshop at a time that, despite corresponding to the artist's period of greatest maturity, also coincided with the onset of the period of maximum production.


Room 10
Floor 1
9-10-11 Gothic Art
12-13-14 Renaissance
15-16 Textiles and Clothing
17 Glass